WBGO Journal

Saturday 6:30am - 7am

Hosted by Doug Doyle

The WBGO Journal is an award-winning half-hour news magazine that airs Saturdays at 6 am. Reports and analysis, informative interviews and features.

My Name is Lucy Barton
Manhattan Theatre Club

Professors (and psychologists) of literature have argued that there are only 7 basic plots in all storytelling. Or maybe 9. Or 36. Or, according to mythologist Joseph Campbell, one plot. Laura Linney now stars on Broadway in a play about one woman’s story. Or maybe everyone’s story.

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews a new play at Manhattan Theatre Club at Samuel J Friedman Theater on Broadway My Name is Lucy Barton.

Laura Linney stars in the play.

Click above to hear the review.

Beauty Pageant

Have beauty standards finally changed here in the U-S?

WBGO Commentator Mildred Antenor thinks so.

"Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss World, what do these five beauty pageants have in common?  They all currently hold black women as the crowned winner of each contest. I have to tell you that I never thought I'd see the day when melinated women would hold those titles."

Click above to hear the entire commentary.

Addressing Combined Sewer Overflow in Newark

Jan 24, 2020
Molly Fichter for WBGO News

It's after dark on a school night, and families gather in the Hawkins Elementary School cafeteria for a pasta dinner hosted by Ironbound Community Corporation. But they’re not just here to eat.

"Tonight we're going to talk about our sewer system and specifically what combined sewer overflow is. Then we’re going to talk about what the city is doing to solve this problem and get your feedback on it."

That's Drew Curtis of ICC is standing in front of a projector displaying statistics about the City of Newark's Sewer System. Heads nod and comments flow as Drew speaks.

Alexandra Hill / WBGO News

New Jersey's own rock legend, Jon Bon Jovi, was on hand today for the opening of his new JBJ Soul Kitchen restaurant at Rutgers University-Newark.  

Janet Duch
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The New York Guardians are one of eight teams in the newly created XFL.  The American football team will play its home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the same stadium that houses the New York Giants and New York Jets. 

The home opener for the Guardians, coached by former Giants offensive coordinator and former LA Chargers head coach Kevin Gilbride, will be February 9 against the Tampa Bay Vipers at 2pm.

Gilles Petard / Redferns/Getty

Playwright Jewelle Gomez was one of the lucky people who got to see jazz and blues singer and songwriter Alberta Hunter perform at The Cookery in Greenwich Village, New York.

Gomez was so inspired by Hunter's music and life that eventually she wanted to write about the legend who had a successful career from the early 1920s to the late 1950s, and then stopped performing.  Then in 1977, after twenty years of working as a nurse, Alberta Hunter successfully resumed her popular singing career until her death.

DONALD UHRBROCK / The Life Images collection / Getty

Wonderful music will once again fill Bethany Baptist Church this Sunday, as the Church's Lecture Committee presents "Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." Vocalist and songwriter Cassandra Wilson will be the special musical guest at Sunday's program, which begins at 2:30 p.m.

Three of the people involved in the program sat down this week with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to talk about the event. 

Bethany Baptist Church's Minister of Music Rev. Karlos Nichols says Dr. King loved many kinds of music.

Harry Townsend's Last Stand
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Everyone's experience of the arts -- what we hear in the music, what we see in a painting, what we feel from a play -- is unique. What WBGO theater critic Michael Bourne was feeling from a play now at City Center was very personal.

Broadway legend Len Cariou joins Craig Bierko on the stage for Harry Townsend's Last Stand.

George Eastman is the playwright.

Click above to hear Michael's review of Harry Townsend's Last Stand.

Brittany Harley / Newark Public Radio/WBGO

CEO & Founder of Urbanational, Clarissa Cummings hosted the first Bakeran Supper in Newark. Prompted by the Jeffersonian Dinner concept, a Bakeran Supper honors activist Ella Baker's approach to meaningful community building.   A curated, invite-only event hosted by Urbanational, a Bakeran Supper brings together 10 urban changemakers around a dinner table of great food and stimulating conversation. 

Ask Governor Murphy

The latest edition of Ask Governor Murphy, hosted by WNYC's Nancy Solomon, focused on several key topics including how Governor Murphy feels about the U.S. airstrike that killed an Iranian General, increased reports of sexual assaults in state government and the recent increase in hate crimes.

Ask Governor Murphy is a WBGO News production in collaboration with WHYY and WNYC.  The monthly show originates from the WBGO studios in Newark.

During the show, the number to call is 844-677-9283, or on social media with #askgovmurphy.

Donald Dietz

“You can’t tell the history of jazz in America without also telling the history of jazz from Detroit,” says Mark Stryker. “Those two things are indivisible.”

Christopher McElroen / Courtesy of the artist

Pianist Gerald Clayton will perform his 75-minute mixed media concert Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation, this Saturday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m., at the Loreto Theater, Sheen Center for Thought and Culture. This concert performance is part of the 2020 Winter Jazzfest, and will be included in the Saturday marathon.

Kenneth Miles / 3rd Space

As a teenager, Cyntoia Brown-Long was convicted of first-degree murder and would have to serve 51 years in prison in order to be eligible for parole. On January 7, 2019, she was granted clemency. Brown-Long was released from prison about seven months later. In October of last year, she hosted a book signing at 3rd Space Co-Work in Newark.

Atlantic Theatre Company

Theater critic Michael Bourne says Halfway Bitches Go Straight To Heaven is one of the best plays he's seen.  It's the latest production from the Atlantic Theater Company.

Click above to hear his review.

Vic Juris
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The amazing jazz guitarist Vic Juris passed away this morning at the age of 66. 

In 2014, Vic Juris was a guest on SportsJam with Doug Doyle where he talked about his love of boxing.  Juris started following the sport when Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) fought Sonny Liston in 1964.  

London Assurance
Irish Repertory Theatre

A pretentious aristocrat. A besotted idiot. A variety of liars, hustlers, and fools. And one smart beauty. They’re the dramatis personae of an 1841 rom-com, London Assurance. Theater critic Michael Bourne reports on all the silliness afoot at the Irish Repertory Theatre.

Click above to hear Michael's review.

Hope For The Warriors
Hope For The Warriors

The New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Time Square has been a bucket list item since Ward and Amy Taft were married 23 years ago. Unfortunately, it kept getting put off because of the birth of two daughters and Ward's service in the Navy.

Tom Copi / Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Woody Shaw, the groundbreaking trumpeter, would have turned 75 on Dec. 24.

Though he was born in North Carolina, Woody grew up in Newark from age one — eventually studying classical trumpet at Cleveland Junior High School and  jazz at Arts High. So it’s only fitting that the anniversary of his birth would occasion official proclamations from both Mayor Ras Baraka and Gov. Phil Murphy. And of course, only appropriate that we’d celebrate his music at WBGO. 

Warner Bros Studios

Michael B. Jordan portrays Bryan Stevenson in the new film “Just Mercy”. A private screening was held at the Cityplex Theatre in Newark, New Jersey. Jordan was present along with Bryan Stevenson, Tim Blake Nelson, and Rob Morgan. He has made a tradition of hosting screenings in his hometown.

Michael Bourne
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Most of the recent biographical dramas and musicals have presented stories about famous politicians (Alexander Hamilton, Lyndon Johnson) famous performers (Tina Turner, The Temptations) -- but theater critic Michael Bourned enjoyed a new play about famous scientists.

Click above for Michael's review of Off-Broadway's The Half-Life of Marie Curie which closes this weekend at the Minetta Lane Theatre.

Former NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill's Reflections

Dec 19, 2019
James O'Neill
Michel Friang

Last month, New York City's Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill retired after almost 37 years on the job. As the NYPD's top cop for the last three years, he oversaw the department's rollback of stop and frisk and a continued decline in crime.

WBGO's Bob Hennelly sat down with O'Neill for an exit interview.

HENNELLY: So, when you came on the force you come on through Transit what were the atmospherics, what was the city like? That was a long time ago.

Mildred Antenor
Doug Doyle for WBGO

WBGO commentator and Seton Hall professor Mildred Antenor grew up in an immigrant community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.  She witnessed and experienced the hardships that immigrants in her vicinity faced everyday.

In her new book The Gladioli Are Invisible: A Memoir, Antenor vividly and honestly talks about the adversity she saw, such as drug abuse, mental illness, alcoholism and domestic violence.

She recently sat down with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to discuss her emotional journey through her memoir.

Lindsay Berra
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Sports journalist Lindsay Berra, the oldest grandchild of Yogi and Carmen Berra, refers to herself as a multi-platform storyteller. 

Having the legendary New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher as a grandfather can prompt lots of great stories and she shares many of them on this edition of SportsJam.

Lindsay Berra and host Doug Doyle met at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on the campus of Montclair State University to talk about her career as both a sportswriter and an athlete, her passions and her famous family.

Dr. Greg Reid
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Bloomfield College will soon be the only institution in New Jersey to offer on-site court reporting instruction, offering two certificate programs starting in January 2020.  These certificate programs will prepare students for careers in scoping (certificate one), and judicial court reporting/captioning (certificate two).

The Director of the program, Dr. Greg Reid sat down recently at Bloomfield College with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle, who also teaches various radio classes at the college.


USAA has been a proud sponsor of the Army-Navy Game since 2009.  This year's matchup between the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (Black Knights) and the U.S. Naval Academy (Midshipmen) is set for Saturday, December 14 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The 2019 Army-Navy Game marks the rivalry's 120th meeting and 89th time played in Philadelphia.

Eric Engquist, USAA Vice President Enterprise Brand Management chats with SportsJam Doug Doyle about the game, his military service and his company's role in a game that dates back to 1890.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Law enforcement officials say the deadly attack in Jersey City on Tuesday, which left three civilians, one police officer, and the two suspects dead, is being investigated as an act of domestic terror. 

“The evidence points towards acts of hate," said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.  "I can confirm that we are investigating this matter as potential acts of domestic terrorism fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs."

Ang Santos / WBGO

The food court is closed at Jersey Garden’s Mall, it’s hours before shoppers start filing in for the holiday rush.  But hundreds of people are in the building chatting with coffee, some take in carbs, others are stretching.

Two of Newark’s most prolific political minds have come together to edit and publish a book about Newark’s first African-American Mayor. A Mayor For All The People: Kenneth Gibson’s Newark, provides an assessment of Gibson’s leadership and his legacy, from the perspectives of the people who were deeply immersed in 1970s and 80’s Newark politics: city employees, politicians, activists, journalists, and mayoral colleugues like the first African-American mayor of New York City David Dinkins. WBGO’s Alexandra Hill recently sat down with Richard W. Roper and Robert C.

Jagged Little Pill

Recently, almost as often as popular movies have become Broadway musicals, popular singers and songs have inspired new shows on Broadway. Theater critic Michael reviews a new show adapted from a 1995 groundbreaking album from Alanis Morrisette, Jagged Little Pill.

From Academy Award-winning writer Diablo Cody (Juno) comes an original story of suburban subversion inspired by Morissette’s Grammy-Award winning album.

Jagged Little Pill is running at the Broadhurst Theatre.

Click above for Michael Bourne's review.

Dr. King
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Deborah Simpkin King, Ph.D. is a visionary choral conductor, new music advocate and master teacher who has been thrilling audiences in New York and New Jersey for many years. 

Her semi-professional choral ensemble Ember of Schola Cantorum on Hudson is presenting a concert "An Ember December" this Sunday, December 8 at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church at 94 Pine Street in Montclair, New Jersey.

The famous conductor also leads the choir of the Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township and is the host of public radio's Sounds Choral.